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ABIM Engages Physicians on Updates, Potential Changes to MOC Assessments

More physicians invited to rate exam topics by relevance in practice and to help set exam standard

Philadelphia, PA, February 5, 2016 – The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is unveiling new processes to engage internists and subspecialists on various aspects of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) assessments. These enhancements align with ABIM's continuous improvement efforts and were informed by physician requests for an MOC program that is more reflective of practice.

ABIM is working diligently to enhance its MOC program in line with the Assessment 2020 Task Force report, including the recommendation to replace the 10-year MOC exam with more meaningful, less burdensome assessments. As the program evolves, the goal is to ensure the clinical content is relevant to a broad cross-section of physicians. To that end, ABIM Board Certified physicians can provide input on what topics are most important and most frequently seen in practice, and some physicians will be eligible to participate in the process to set MOC exam minimum passing scores.

No matter what form ABIM's assessment takes, it will need to be informed by front line clinicians sharing their perspective on what is important to know.

Reviewing and updating the examination blueprint

Last year, physicians across the full range of internal medicine practice reviewed the Internal Medicine MOC exam blueprint, or exam content outline, and rated exam topic areas by relative frequency and importance in practice. Their input, along with data from national databases, informed updates to the fall 2015 blueprint aimed at enhancing the assessment's effectiveness at evaluating whether a certified general internist has maintained competence and currency in the knowledge and judgment required for practice.

ABIM is now expanding the blueprint review process to subspecialists.

  • ABIM Board Certified physicians in several subspecialties can now provide feedback on their MOC exam blueprints regarding relative frequency and importance in practice, and their feedback will be used to update the content of future MOC exams.
  • ABIM has reached out to subspecialists via e-mail and through a blog post with more information about this process and how to participate.
  • ABIM plans to introduce blueprint reviews for a large number of subspecialties during the course of 2016 with reviews for the remaining subspecialties taking place soon thereafter.

“Internists and subspecialists will have a hand in shaping the content of MOC assessments so they better reflect what physicians need to know to provide the best care for their patients,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of ABIM. “Moving forward, ABIM will continue to invite physicians to review assessment content, and, through their timely and representative responses, we will be able to create an even more meaningful credential that is a source of pride for those staying current in medical knowledge and practice.”

Enhancing standard setting and score reports

ABIM also invited a group of ABIM Board Certified internists who spend at least half of their time in direct patient care from various geographic regions, practice settings and age ranges to participate in ABIM's process for establishing the ABIM Fall 2015 Internal Medicine MOC Examination minimum passing score.

  • Internists worked with ABIM Internal Medicine Exam Committee members to set the standard for the exam – which reflects the level of performance required to pass the exam.
  • ABIM relies on this evidence-based, peer-defined approach to set the exam's minimum passing score; it does not set pass rates.
  • As blueprints and exams in other disciplines are updated, physicians from those disciplines will be invited to join the standard setting process.

“It was incredibly valuable to hear perspectives from physicians who participated in the standard setting process for the fall 2015 Internal Medicine MOC exam,” said Nick Fitterman, MD, Chair of the ABIM Internal Medicine Exam Committee. “This enhanced process is quite reliable and representative, and we heard from several participants that they appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the exam. More physicians will be invited to participate in standard setting as other subspecialty MOC assessments are updated”

In addition, ABIM collaborated with physicians to create Score Reports that feature a more user-friendly design with detailed descriptions of exam performance. Physicians now receive results electronically in this new format.

Continuing to evolve assessment

ABIM is collaborating with physicians to update its approach to knowledge assessment. While its 10-year MOC exams are still in place and produce reliable, valid results, ABIM is continuing to engage the internal medicine community on ways to adapt assessments to embrace advances in medical practice and technology. Many physicians provided ideas on potential alternatives to the 10-year exam. This type of input will remain essential to all potential updates and changes to MOC assessments.

Learn about ABIM's ongoing conversations with the internal medicine community, opportunities to provide input and how this input is improving MOC by subscribing to the Transforming ABIM blog.

For media inquiries, contact Erin Frantz at press@abim.org.

ABIM Board Certified Doctors Make a Difference
Internists and subspecialists who earn and maintain board certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) differentiate themselves every day through their specialized knowledge and commitment to continual learning in service of their patients. Established as an independent nonprofit more than 80 years ago, ABIM continues to be driven by doctors who want to achieve higher standards for better care in a rapidly changing world. Visit ABIM's blog to learn more and follow ABIM on Facebook and Twitter. ABIM is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties.